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Species Description

Pond Slider

Trachemys scripta


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Emydidae

Description

The carapace is brown to olive in color with yellow vertical bands. The plastron is yellow with black spots in two or more scutes. A yellow blotch behind the eye is the most conspicuous marking on the head of young and females, being darker in adult males. Old adults may be completely black in color and exhibit no pattern. Adults average from 12.5 - 20.3 cm (4.9 - 8 in) in carapace length. The Slider was formerly the most commonly sold turtle in the pet trade, but its sale has been restricted since it is a known carrier of Salmonella bacteria which cause intestinal disorders.

Life Cycle

Mating can occur in spring, fall, or winter months. Females nest at dusk or nighttime from April to July and lay 6 - 15 eggs in an oval chamber excavated in loose soil. The eggs hatch in late summer or early fall, and some hatchlings overwinter in the nest.

Natural History

This is a common turtle of the Southeast, inhabiting the quiet waters of rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, bays, and even salt marshes. This species is commonly seen basking on logs and brushpiles during the warm months of March through November. Sliders forage for food during the day. Adults eat a great diversity of plant and animal material, including algae, snails, clams, insects, spiders, fish, frogs (eggs, larvae, and adults), and snakes. Juvenile Sliders are highly carnivorous and become more omnivorous as they mature.

Range

Pond Slider Region Map The Slider occurs from Maryland and Virginia west to Kansas and south into Texas. It can be found throughout most of Georgia except in the northeastern and extreme southeastern corners.

Conservation Status

Slider populations are considered to be stable.

Similar Species

This species is best distinguished from the Cooter by the large yellow blotch behind its eye.